The Divergent Series: Insurgent Movie Review
I was one of the few critics who actually enjoyed the first film in The DIVERGENT Series (click the link to read my review). An opening premise of people choosing their life career from five different factions based on a personality/attribute test, intrigued me, even if the third act falls apart. Unfortunately, the second film of the series, INSURGENT, continues that weak third act with a tired storyline of over-emotional characters, nonsensical decision-making, and typical unnecessary self-sacrifice.
Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) are now fugitives, being hunted by Jeanine (Kate Winslet), a power-hungry leader of the Erudite. If you don’t remember, the five factions are as follows: Abnegation meant for the selfless, Amity meant for the peaceful, Candor meant for the honest, Dauntless meant for the brave, and Erudite meant for the intelligent. Then of course there are some like Tris, a divergent, who has characteristics of many factions. Tris and Four are accompanied by Tris’ weaker Erudite older brother, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), and her nemesis, Peter (Miles Teller), who is waiting for a chance to betray them. Tris and Four must gather allies as they search for the truth behind their world and stop Jeanine from ruling it.
I have said before, that science fiction gets a little more of a critical pass from me, as long as it presents an interesting world or concept. INSURGENT is more of the same and it is quite simply, boring. Yes there is a ton of action involving talented stars but none of it is remotely exciting or new. Four stops to shoot at their hunters, then narrowly beats a train crossing in a scene we’ve seen a million times before. The young lovers learn about each other and then unreasonably briefly get upset at new hidden facts. Tris is illogically feeling a lot of guilt for killing a friend in self defense. If someone is trying to end my life, why would anyone blame me for defending myself? One of the worst crimes a film can commit is falsely creating conflict through unrealistic means that the audience can’t understand other than seeing it done before on many poorly written television shows. INSURGENT commits this heinous writing crime for nearly the entire two hour running time.
I don’t know what else to say about INSURGENT, other than I’m glad it’s over. Author Veronica Roth wrote the young adult Divergent series in three books (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant). The second film seems to be at a stopping point, both in story and in providing any desire to watch. Recognizable faces like Octavia Spencer, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Daniel Dae Kim, and Naomi Watts briefly pop up, but it’s clear they are not given much to do other than pick up a paycheck. Lacking any exhilarating surprises, INSURGENT goes through the motions like a paint by numbers coloring book. Outside of an occasional smarmy quote from Miles Teller, INSURGENT has nothing of memorable value to offer.